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Internship Journal

Students learn a great deal at internships and, most times, all the new information can be overwhelming. You will find things moving so fast on the internship (hopefully!) that you will hardly remember half of your learning experience by the end.

To help you remember job strategies by professionals, as well as your own activities, progress and accomplishments, keep a daily journal. In so doing, you will create your own textbook. At your next internship or your first job after graduation, you can refer to the journal to refresh your memory about a particular skill or approach to a project. You also can refer to the journal to more effectively and efficiently write your monthly Progress Reports for CMM 498.

Take 15 minutes B no more, no less – at the end of each day to write in your notebook. That should be enough to get down the highlights of the day without being a burden. Write in your notebook before you leave the office or, if you commute, do so on the bus or train before you get home.

The Notebook

Before the internship begins, buy a notebook that you feel comfortable carrying in your purse, briefcase or backpack. A 5x7 book-bound or spiral-bound notebook is usually the most practical B big enough for narratives and for pasting in material, yet small enough to tuck away.

Notebooks can be found in the in office supply stores, in the stationery section of department stores (e.g.., Target, K-mart), and even at major grocery stores (e.g.., Meijer, Kroger).

Since you will be using the book in the office, it's best to stay away from covers that market pop culture (movies, bands, etc.), promote controversial causes (e.g., legalize drugs, guns), or are cute and flowery.

Women have more choices. They can choose a notebook with a simple, classy decoration on the cover or one that is just one color.

Men can find Amanly@ journals B leather-bound, fake leather, suede-like, brown or black plastic covers.

In any case, keep in mind that the notebook will be seen, if ever so briefly, at the office and so you want it to be able to fit in the professional environment.

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Content

Some ideas for what to write about:

  • Your training.
  • Company organization.
  • Job descriptions of people who really interested you. Maybe those are the kind of job that you might want to pursue. With a job description, you’ll know what courses and training you need.
  • Colleagues’ cool ideas. Maybe you can borrow some of those ideas later.
  • Strategies for handling an event or a crisis. Note the good, bad and ugly. Maybe you learn what not to do if you face a similar situation at another time.
  • Your own great ideas. Maybe your colleagues or supervisor favorably responded to an idea, even it didn't’t result in action. Write it with enough detail so that you can prepare a memo and include it in your portfolio. The process of writing the memo, even if after-the-fact, will help you better understand the brainstorming and proposal process. You’ll also be ready when a supervisor asks for a written proposal because you’ve practiced!
  • Achievement of your educational objectives.
  • Unanticipated learning and tasks.

Journalism students should develop a clip file of their favorite leads and stories written by professionals that they admire. These clips can be stored on your computer and/or a flash drive. Also take a few minutes to ask the writers how they wrote that story or lead. This clip file will prove very helpful on your first job. When you get writer’s block or struggle with some aspect of your story, you can refer the file for ideas and inspiration. Most serious journalism majors routinely develop a “favorites” clip file.

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Students' Experience

Interns who kept a journal all agree that the effort was nominal but the rewards later were invaluable. A few interns also said they inadvertently impressed their supervisors who saw them writing in their journal at the end of the day and lauded their enterprise.

So, give it a try. It really is an easy, yet effective way to get a lot out of your internship.

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